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British Women Weep After Leaving Men Behind

September 10, 1990

LONDON (AP) _ British women arriving home from Kuwait and Iraq wept as they told of having to leave fathers and husbands behind to an uncertain fate.

Briton Suzanne Turvey, 18, said she was persistently questioned by Iraqi forces in Kuwait until she told them where her father, oil company worker John Turvey, was hiding.

She said her father was taken to Baghdad and she does not know where he is now. Miss Turvey had been on vacation, staying with her father, who worked in Kuwait for eight years.

″I was interrogated by the Iraqi soldiers and eventually I had to tell them where he was.″ Otherwise, she added, ″they said I wasn’t going to be going anywhere. ″

″My poor husband is still there,″ said Bhavna Trivedi, 32. ″The last time I saw him was 10 days ago. He is in Kuwait hiding.″

She held her baby son, Adarsh, after arriving at Gatwick Airport late Sunday on a British government-chartered Iraqi Airways flight from Baghdad with more than 400 other women and children.

″He cannot go out to buy food,″ Mrs. Trivedi said of her husband. ″Friends are looking after him. There is a warning that if you are found harboring British citizens you will be hanged for treason. I am scared.″

″Everyone is tense,″ she added. ″There is a lot of resistance. They are trying to blow up ammunition trucks. There is a lot of shooting on the street. A lot of people are informing.″

British Airways, the handling agent for Sunday’s charter, said 163 Americans among the 438 passengers would leave for Baltimore this afternoon. The Americans spent the night in a hotel at Gatwick.

In Charleston, S.C., 305 weary U.S. evacuees - mostly women and children - sang ″God Bless America″ when their chartered jet from Jordan touched down late Sunday. They were greeted with applause by those waiting at the airport after the Boeing 747 landed.

An estimated 21,000 Westerners were in Iraq and Kuwait when Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, and U.S. officials estimate about 2,200 Americans remain. Some of the men in that group have been sent to military installations to serve as human shields against possible attack.

Theresa Fannon, a 46-year-old nurse from Northern Ireland, and other staff members of a Kuwait hospital decided to join a bus convoy to Baghdad: ″It was 4 a.m. when we were stopped at a checkpoint and taken to the police station which had been turned into an Iraqi military base.

″There were young soldiers waving guns about and they kept us outside in the boiling heat for eight hours.″

The small party of Britons were then taken to a sorting center and left out in the sun for another four hours.

″We nearly died that day, left 12 hours in the heat,″ Miss Fannon said.

Once in Baghdad the Iraqis split up families and couples at a city hotel: ″It was tragic watching the husbands standing there on the steps with the children crying and the wives getting ready to leave,″ she said.

″Most of the men have lost a lot of weight and look pale as they have been under house arrest for five weeks.

″We assumed they were being moved to military installations and neither the British nor the Irish embassies seem to have much idea where they were going.″